IMG_9184.jpg

Behind The Scenes | The Sweet Science of Chocolate

Chocolate Makers Studio

The making of chocolate is a surprisingly scientific process, and like any good science, it also comes with its very own assortment of unusual tools of the trade.

There are no Bunsen burners in Steven Lawrence’s North Austin Chocolate Makers Studio kitchen, but there are plenty of other unusual gadgets: veterinary syringes, used to pipe ganache into hollow chocolate shells; a vibrating device for making dentures that Lawrence instead uses to help shimmy liquid chocolate into every last crevice of a mold; and something called a guitar, which is basically an elaborate paper cutter-like device named for its taut strings, which slice through chocolate with precision and ease.

According to Lawrence, proper chocolate crafting is all about time, temperature, and movement. In his studio, a large vat swirls milk chocolate continuously over itself and around in a circle, practically begging to be sampled. Lawrence explains that chocolate changes in structure and shine on a molecular level depending on heat, and all makers aim for a finished product that is firm but not dull. He dips a ganache-filled treat into the vat of melted chocolate, covering both sides, lingering for the precise amount of time required for a good coating. Then he moves the chocolate to a wax paper-covered baking sheet, where he presses into it a clear acetate strip adorned in a bit of 24-karat gold. For a little added pressure, he uses his son’s wooden alphabet block. Several minutes later, he peels the sheet off, and the gold remains: a beautiful, tasteless delicacy atop a sinfully good treat.

But those are actually the very final steps. Before any of the artistic work of adorning his chocolates and bars, which Lawrence says he loves, he first roasts beans from exotic, equatorial locales in his oven. They’re run through something called a Crankenstein, separating the nib from the rest of the cocoa bean. Later, they’re milled with a device traditionally used for grain, turning the nibs into a liquid. All of this careful, complicated work brings Lawrence joy. And you can taste that joy in the results: peanut butter and jelly chocolates, cardamom and honey caramel chocolates, orange peel dipped in chocolate, truffles filled with port-wine ganache.

A long-time pastry chef, Lawrence first started in chocolate in Seattle, at Fran’s chocolates. There, his job was to monitor the chocolate conveyer belt—“just like in ‘I Love Lucy,’” Lawrence explains. A job offer for his wife eventually brought Lawrence to Austin, where he hopes to soon open a retail shop. “Making chocolate is very much like making art to me,” Lawrence says. “That’s what I love about it.”

  • IMG_8966.jpg
  • IMG_8973.jpg
  • IMG_9210.jpg
  • IMG_9147.jpg

Credits

Photography by: Bill Sallans

  • 0f8dfbf1-b6d6-4c56-b842-05d45acda39c.gif
  • image1.JPG
  • Elite 25_300x250.gif
  • unnamed-37.jpg
  • Copenhagen_Feb2015.jpg

SIGN UP FOR OUR WEEKLY

eNewsletter

currentIssue.png
June_Cover-108x108.jpeg
  • 1cb151d1-621d-47f9-941e-7259eea04612.gif
  • Subscribe.jpg
TRIBEZA BLOGS
Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 2.07.04 PM.png

As the warm weather begins to set in and patio parties hit our calendars, we can’t help but embrace that summertime has returned to Austin. If you’re anything like us, you’ll be celebrating the return of the season with decadent ice cream, healthy smoothies and icy cocktails from your favorite local spots.

For those days when it’s too hot to venture out, we went to Austin’s sweet treat professionals and compiled the ultimate collection of DIY recipes to make from your home. Click through the galleries below to learn how to make everything icy and sweet, from poptails for date night to ice cream sandwiches for a dinner party.

more
unnamed.jpg

The spring edition of the Renegade Craft Fair returns for its seventh year in Austin May 14-15 at Fair Market. With over 125 makers on the roster, the scene is sure to be bustling with local artisans and DIYers slinging their unique, one-of-a-kind wares. In addition to great shopping, the RCF offers activities, special showcases and plenty of food and drink options for visitors. This year, celebrate your hard work shopping with a snack from Burro Cheese Kitchen and Lucky Lab Coffee Co. before commemorating the afternoon with some snapshots from Magnolia Photo Booth Co. But before...

more
TRIBEZA04.jpg

Inspired by the beautiful outdoor living spaces featured in our May feature The Space Between, we went window shopping and found some great outdoor furniture and accessories to liven up your outdoor patio, porch and pool. Flip through the galleries below to see how you can add a pop of color and style to your outdoor hideaway.

more
6cac5c5a8c8ab233e90140848463bee7-d1026fbadb4e268d7fc0f385121f57a3.jpg

JUDE GALLIGAN

Hundreds of people are moving to Austin each day, and downtown is one of the major hubs of growth for the city. Local real estate expert Jude Galligan discusses smart urban growth and what to expect this year as the skyline continues to evolve.

Your blog keeps Austin updated on the latest news in downtown. What is the most exciting development happening right now?

From my point of view, the most exciting development is the Waller Creek District Master Plan. Decades in the making, this transformative project came to life after designers competed for the contract. It is finally coming to downtown, bringing an imaginative chain of parks,...

more
IMG_4713.jpg

As you flip through the pages of our February Love Issue, one thing you’ll notice is the beautiful blooms that pop up throughout the magazine. We got some major googly eyes for the bouquets featured in our "Real Weddings" features, and earmarked the TRIBEZA Wedding Guide for even more Pinterest-worthy petals.

Instead of letting all that inspiration go to waste, we tried our hand at flower arranging to see what we could create. Since we consider ourselves floral design novices, we asked a few top designers...

more